HEALTH AND NUTRITION

Why you need to swap margarine spreads with avocado.

Most margarines have saturated fat and artificially made Trans fats which raise levels "bad cholesterol".

In Summary

•Most margarines have saturated fat and artificially made Trans fats which raise levels "bad cholesterol".

•Avocados also provide nutrients that are essential for the health of the immune system, including vitamin C, B6, and E.

Bread spread
Bread spread
Image: Image by Paola van der Hulst

For many Kenyans, having avocados in their meals is the utmost religious thing they can never forget.

Quite popular in the health and wellness sector, Kenyans love avocados due to their nutritious and health benefits, though many are unaware.

One thing researchers have discovered is the popular fruit may be very good in preventing heart disease.

The American Heart Association says your body needs fat to boost energy, protect organs, produce hormones and help with nutrient absorption.

However, fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are heart-healthy choices.

Olive oil, little canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil and sesame oil are sources of monounsaturated fats, along with avocados, peanut butter and many nuts and seeds.

A cholesterol test
A cholesterol test
Image: eatthis.com

On the other hand, most kinds of margarine have saturated fat and artificially made Trans fats which raise levels of LDL, known as "bad cholesterol".

Found in baked goods like cakes, biscuits, frozen pizzas, some kinds of margarine and other spreads, hydrogenated oils or artificial Trans fats are known to raise the risk of bad cholesterol which can eventually raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and even type 2 diabetes.

Image: Illustration by healthyfamilyproject.com

Packed with Potassium and magnesium, avocados keep the blood pressure in check by helping regulate the blood pressure, critical for heart disease prevention.

In addition to vitamins, healthy fats and fiber and carotenoid compounds, avocados have a strong antioxidant effect that protects against oxidative damage which is associated with progressing many chronic diseases like diabetes and stroke.

Avocado fruit
Avocado fruit
Image: Pixabay

Its high fibre content is good for preventing constipation which is very common during pregnancy.

Avocados also provide nutrients that are essential for the health of the immune system, including vitamin C, B6, and E.

Pairing it with eggs and berries can make a filling nutritious breakfast. Avocados are also inexpensive, one goes for Sh10 to Sh30 depending on the size.

"But if the avocado replaced butter and margarine as a spread, or was eaten instead of processed meats or cheese on a sandwich, "the nutritional distinctions are sizable" and would be expected to change the health outcome."  David Katz, the president and founder of True Health Initiative says.

There are also so many ways you can enjoy the fruit, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Whole grain bread with avocado and fried egg
Whole grain bread with avocado and fried egg
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU
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